By Alan Margolies
Federation Executive Director


This has been a noteworthy year for our Jewish Federation and our major local partner agencies. Here, we can read about the happenings, the stories of our Women’s Division, rGEN, Israel Partnership, Society of Healers, and Shalom Jacksonville. 

Our annual campaign is projected to raise more money than last year. This is no small achievement these days, with so much competition for our charitable dollars. Congratulations to our campaign chair, Iris Kraemer, and all of her co-chairs and all of our dedicated volunteers.

This has been a year with significant change for Federation and the Jewish community.

At the end of 2017, a successful merger was completed for the Jewish Community Foundation of NE Florida and Federation. The leadership of both organizations worked for 12 months to make this happen. I want to acknowledge the guidance and cooperation we received from the Community Foundation of NE Florida. Without their unselfish partnership, we would not have experienced such a smooth transition. Last month, Kellie Kelleher joined our staff as our Director of Planned Giving. This is the first time our Federation has had someone in this position. Kellie brings with her a solid track record of success, and we are excited for her to join our team. It is our intention to secure and ensure the future of our Jewish community. 

This month, following nearly 6 years of outstanding work as Women’s Division director and the director of our Society of Healers Division, Erin Cohen leaves our professional team. All of the volunteers and our staff have loved working with Erin. She is a special person, and we wish Erin and her family all the best in the next chapter of their lives. 

Lauren Rickoff will now assume the role of campaign and women’s director. Prior to moving to Jacksonville, Lauren worked for the Jewish Federation of Broward County.  She brings ten-plus years of experience in women’s division, campaign and leadership development.  

Looking to the fall and the 2019 campaign, we are optimistic and excited about the prospects for an even better year ahead. 

In April, we enjoyed an excellent mission to Israel chaired by Steve and Judy Silverman to celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday. We raised more than $400,000 to kick off next year’s campaign.


With the additions of Kellie and Lauren to our team, I believe we are going to have another solid annual campaign and experience an entirely new way of addressing planned giving.

In August, we will say L’ hitraoat (see you again) to Shelly Shalev, our shlicha and welcome, Rotem Gabay, our first shaliach. 

I want to express my appreciation to Ken Jacobs for his partnership, leadership, and innovative thinking and look forward to his second year serving as president.  

Please know that none of this happens without our dedicated staff. It is my privilege to work with Erin, Pat, Natalie, Emma, Jill, Isabel, Alarie, Valerie, and Chloe.  

Thank you.